A great comment on a post last week from Dolli-Mama ended with: “Cut your neighbor some slack and assume the best.”
I didn’t like reading it.
Because it’s like she was driving with me last week when I completely lost it after some drivers who, instead of merging, went right up to the construction and then merged so those of us (LIKE ME) who merged at THE MERGE RIGHT SIGN kept missing the stoplight. I raged because I was picking up my kids from school and I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO BE LATE BECAUSE OF THOUGHTLESS JERKS. Except I called them much worse and in the end wailed on my horn and gestured with vigor.
And when I pulled up to the people I had freaked out on at the next non-construction-laden stoplight, it was awkward. Because I remembered that we ALL have places to go. I am actually not the most important person on the road.
I could’ve rolled down my window and said: Yesterday, I was talking to the head of the school so I was 10 minutes late picking up my children and they were upset and made me promise not to be late today and the construction was unexpected and I hate breaking my word to anyone but especially my babies who are just learning what a promise is.
My honking cursing mess seems reasonable now. I’m human and try really hard. I know that y’all forgive me and have done it and get it and care.
But they have a story, too. And I can’t assume understanding without giving any or it’s just self-rigorousness and self-pity. But lately, I haven’t wanted to look at anyone’s side but mine.
I draw lines in the sand, and most people don’t even realize they’re on the other side. But I have taken their words wrong or have misread when they’re wearing, doing and not saying and somehow made it about me. Whenever I’m uncomfortable, I hate. People are easy targets and the more I think that you don’t like me, the more I look to mock you.
I’ll whisper: She’s so weird.
Of course, some people ARE weird, but I want the person to be weird because I want others to not like them. There’s laughter and viciousness and passive aggressive Facebook statuses that should stay in my head. For a moment I feel better, but it’s never enough.
And the price is high.
Hatred is exhausting, and over time, I stop seeing the good in any people. Anywhere.
Dolli-Mama’s comment reminded me when I did not wish to be reminded: There’s the person I want to be and there’s the person I’m acting like.
I want to be the person who believes the best rather than expects the worst. I want to love too much and give too often. I especially want to give the benefit of the doubt over and over again.
When I’ve been this person in the past, I’ve been lied to, cheated and made to look stupid. But most of the time, I find that kindness, forgiveness and love reflected right back.
People are amazing like that. Even the ones who forget to merge.